Are you thinking about starting a telegenetics clinic? Have you started a telegenetics clinic and are looking for ways to sustain it? If so, there are several things to consider. Here you will find a general overview and steps to help you on the journey of starting a telegenetics clinics and ways to sustain your clinic. This is not an exhaustive list, these are just example and resources for you to use.
Identify the Problem or Need
When starting a telegenetics clinic, think about the problem that you are trying to solve and what role telegenetics will play in your clinic and/or healthcare system. Remember: The clinical problem/scenario should guide technology choices so define the problem first and let that guide technology options.
Identify and Engage with Stakeholders
- Identify key stakeholders that will have an impact on the telemedicine clinic. Examples: providers, healthcare systems, clinic and billing staff, patients, IT etc.
- Thinking through the entire process/workflow of your program can help you identify all individuals that may be involved with part of your program.
- Develop a stakeholder plan and determine the influence and power of each stakeholder with regards to the project
- Keep track of how often communication is needed between the various stakeholders
Define the Telemedicine Model, Conduct Vendor Analysis, and Select Vendor
- Select a telemedicine model based on your use cases and goals. Will it be asynchronous or synchronous?
- Questions to consider when defining your telemedicine model (not a comprehensive list)
- What are my needs?
- Will I be connecting to the EMR system of my clinic?
- Has my institution selected a vendor that I must use?
- How many originating sites will I have? What platform/model are they using?
- Conduct a vendor analysis to determine which vendor will be able to meet your needs
- Selecting a vendor, remember to keep a checklist and compare the options provided by the various models
More information on selecting a vendor:
Develop Workflows/Business Processes
- Developing workflows will help to create a visual of how the telemedicine clinic will operate and a step-by-step guide
- There can be different types of workflows, for example, one for how to schedule a patient for a telemedicine visit, how to connect with the originating sites, etc. Example of a Workflow
- Questions to consider when developing a workflow/business process?
- What are the different steps that would need to occur from scheduling a patient to seeing a patient via telemedicine?
- What happens once the patient arrives at the originating site?
- How will the originating site and the distant site communicate with one another?
Resources for creating a workflow:
Determine Anticipated Outcomes/Evaluation Model
- While planning your telegenetics clinic, determine what are your targeted outcomes or goals of the program. Consider what changes you would like to see as a result of implementing this clinic?
- A good document with lots of possible metrics was developed by the American Telemedicine Association for mental health but it readily applies to any telemedicine program.
Develop Training Materials and Train Staff
- Developing training materials will allow all staff working in the telegenetics clinic to understand how the clinic will operate. This help to ensure that workflows developed previously, are easy to follow and implement
- If you would like to use an existing training option to train your staff, there are several options available from in-person to online self-paced courses.
- The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers consists of 12 regional TRCs that are federally funded to provide free telemedicine assistance as you start or grow your program.
Launch your Program
You have successfully planned out and designed your telemedicine clinic! Now it is time for you to launch your program.
Remember: Making adjustments to your program to enhance efficiency once it has been launched is normal. There will be somethings that aren’t known until the program has launched.